Guide to Sustainable Design for Architecture, Engineering & Construction

Existing Conditions

Determine existing project conditions, and create an accurate 3D model of the building for use in energy analysis and other simulations for improved building performance.

Throughout the building life cycle, you have opportunities to improve the sustainability of your building, site, or structure project. Never before has energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions been so important. The decision to renovate may be driven by goals for improved efficiency and cost savings or as a way to improve the value of your building. In any case, improving the sustainability of your project begins with building information modeling (BIM) and the intelligent information inherent within the 3D building model.

Design DecisionsHow ToAutodesk Tools

Renovation & Energy Retrofit

  • Reduce utility costs and increased predictability, resulting in significant savings.
  • Consider transparency and accountability for each leased space.
  • Plan for energy efficiency compliance today and in the future, potentially increasing building value.
  • Understand codes and support structure requirements of existing MEP systems.
  • Document existing building conditions.
  • Use digital photographs, existing 3D models, CAD drawings, or laser scans.
  • Create a basic 3D energy model to more quickly and accurately perform an initial energy analysis.

Autodesk ImageModeler
Capture the as-built real environment, help take measurements of existing buildings, and more easily create photorealistic 3D models from digital photographs.

AutoCAD Raster Design
Scan existing paper drawings and convert the raster images into working AutoCAD® files, which can then be used as the baseline of the project. AutoCAD DWG™ files can be used as a baseline to create Autodesk® Revit® Architecture and Autodesk® Revit® MEP Design models.

AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 
Document the existing plans and locations of the systems from the physical documents and use as a foundation to create simple building models for analysis.

AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP
Share and communicate designs more easily with the DWG file format.

Energy Efficiency Goals

  • Set goals for meeting or exceeding regulatory requirements for energy, water, and land impacts.
  • Set goals for net-zero energy or carbon neutral operations.
  • Determine potential for on-site wind and solar electric energy generation and solar thermal opportunities.
  • Look for possibilities for natural ventilation given site constraints, climate, security, air quality, and occupancy requirements.
  • Consider building form for optimal energy efficiency.

Building Use

  • Establish building space requirements.
  • Explore floor-area allocation and assign usages.

Set Comfort Criteria

Determine methods by which comfort will be satisfied—such as fresh air, air movement, solar control, moisture, sound levels, air quality, adaptive comfort—and assess impact on energy use and carbon emissions.

Water Reclamation & Use

  • Determine on-site water availability, precipitation catchment size, and estimated water needs.
  • Determine if separate graywater or  nonpotable water will be used in project.

Consider energy modeling and analysis tools that can help to achieve more accurate estimates of energy savings and reduce the time needed for energy modeling.

Conduct preliminary studies and analysis to set achievable goals for meeting and exceeding regulatory or certification requirements.

  • Energy use and efficiency potential
  • Carbon emission analysis
  • Water efficiency potential
  • Regional electric grid carbon emissions
  • Local weather
  • Natural ventilation potential
  • Daylighting
  • Solar studies
  • 3D massing within the building model
  • Hydrologic studies

Consult Resources

  • U.S. Department of Energy—Energy Information Administration 2003
  • Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption
  • Survey ASHRAE Standard 55-2004

Autodesk Green Building Studio

  • Pinpoint weather data associated with a project site using hourly weather information for more than 50,000 U.S. locations.*
  • Analyze potential for natural ventilation to handle building cooling load on an hourly basis.*

Autodesk Revit Architecture
Conduct 3D massing studies and explore floor-area allocation and use assignments at an early schematic design phase.

AutoCAD Civil 3D
Evaluate how much rainwater can be captured on the site, and design retention facilities to store rainwater for later use.

Environmental Goals

Habitat Protection

  • Conserve natural environment and wildlife.
  • Protect biodiversity.
  • Observe laws and regulations.

Natural Hydrology

  • Protect aquatic resources and water quality.
  • Minimize pollution caused by stormwater runoff and erosion from site redevelopment.
  • Consider Low Impact Development methods.

Conduct studies and analysis to determine existing conditions and set achievable goals for meeting and exceeding requirements: Spatial, network, and buffering analysis.

Consult Resources

  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
  • U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
  • The Low Impact Development Center, Inc.
  • U.S. Dept. of Energy (US DOE)
  • American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM)
  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and other standards or regulations

AutoCAD Civil 3D

  • Incorporate GIS data into the design environment and conduct overlay, network, buffer, and other types of geospatial analysis to help optimize site layout and avoid sensitive wetlands and floodplains.
  • Conduct surface analysis to evaluate various grading schemes and to help identify steep areas prone to erosion.

Autodesk Ecotect Analysis
Calculate solar availability.

Autodesk Green Building Studio
Identify and size options for on-site renewable energy sources.*

Paperless Project
Require electronic document management and sharing to reduce paper and shipping impact.

  • Use the coordinated, consistent information in the building information model to help optimize resource, cost, and schedule.
  • Employ a digital model of the project to coordinate information, processes, costs, and schedule across the building life cycle.

Autodesk Buzzsaw
Create a central repository for all project information with more secure, on-demand access.

Autodesk Constructware

  • Automate business processes and reporting.
  • Monitor performance and project status.
  • Address changes and more accurately forecast cost to complete.

* This capability is provided by Autodesk® Green Building Studio® web-based technology which is available with and during the term of your Subscription to Autodesk® Ecotect® Analysis software.